Theophile and his books

Submitted by Philip Denomme *

Theophile W. Denomme (1903-1996), one of Huron County’s leading genealogists, the son of Maxime Denomme and Rose Durand, was born in the family’s log cabin home on Lot 6, Lakeshore Road West, Hay Township, Huron County, Ontario. The cabin has since been moved to Fanshawe Pioneer Village in London.

In 1922, Theophile graduated from the University of Ottawa, with a degree in accounting. In 1928, he married Eileen Regier (1909-1991), the daughter of John Regier and Elisabeth Krauskopf, at Our-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel Church, Mount Carmel, Ontario. The couple have five children, 23 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.

After graduating from university, Theophile worked for a short time at La Banque Provinciale in Windsor for $10 a week. In search of employment, with diploma in hand, he soon discovered there was not much demand for someone with an accounting degree, so he emigrated to the United States.  He worked for the Detroit Vapor Stove Company for two years and then at the Hudson Motor Car Company as a drill-press operator. When he was laid off in 1925, he found employment with the Briggs Manufacturing Company. Chrysler Corporation bought Briggs and they included Theophile "with the bricks and mortar". After nearly 42 years with the company, he retired in 1965 as director of production planning in the Trim Division.

Eileen and Theophile enjoyed travelling, and on a visit to Quebec City met Roland Auger, head of the Archives du Quebec. Auger referred him to a Brother Rivest in Montreal, who became "the spark that lit my interest in research". Theophile or "Tuff", as he became known to friends and family, pursued his interest by tracing his own ancestry which resulted in the self-publication of "Our French Ancestry in Huron County, 1631-1976".  Genealogy became Tuff’s passion as he traced the lineage of many French Canadian and a few German families who had settled Huron County Ontario in the mid 19th century. His methodology was to take the early families, trace them back to their arrival in Canada, and then forward to the present day.

In his research, Theophile became particularly intrigued with those who had left the area in search of work and resettled in Michigan & the Dakota Territories.  He has successfully linked many surnames which evolved after their entry into the United States. Enthusiasm and love of history was evident as he commented on the connection of the Ducharme and Boucher families with Louis Riel. Since publishing his first book, two revisions have been issued expanding the scope of his work. The third, published with the technical assistance of his son-in-law Joe Dziuda, includes the ancestry of 48 families and brings us to 1990. These families were primarily parishioners of St-Pierre-aux-Bouleaux, serving the Townships of Hay & Stanley in Huron County, Ontario.

Theophile continued his research until his death, adding to the information about the families he had traced and "new" surnames as they arose. His work had brought him into contact with hundreds of people from Canada and the United States, all descendants of a handful of families who left Quebec to start a new life in Huron County. His books are a tribute to these pioneers and will offer future generations a better understanding, not only of who these people were, but also a deeper sense of who they are themselves.

* Submitter’s note: this profile was adapted from the book Hay Township Highlights (1996)


Thanks to Donald Chretien for your assistance in making this site artistically better.

Copyright 2002, Art Denomme. All rights reserved. Revised March 13, 2018